Welcome

 

Welcome to the website of the Montreal folkgrass trio Steel Rail. Strong original material, superb three-part harmonies and hot picking have helped Tod Gorr, Ellen Shizgal and Dave Clarke win a loyal fan base in Central Canada. After almost a decade of living on opposite ends of the continent, the threesome are back together in Quebec, making new acoustic music that reflects the best of the folk, bluegrass and country traditions.

Check out our latest album, Coming Home.

June 7, 2022 

Free outdoor show in Baie d'Urfé Aug. 4

We're pleased to announce we'll be returning to Baie d'Urfé in August for their summer concert series along the lakeshore.

We last played the Thursday night series back in 2018, and concluded the bandshell in Fritz Memorial Park is one of the prettiest sites we've performed at.

The free concert begins at 7:30 p.m.; you can see the details, including how to get there and where to park, in our events calendar.

June 6, 2022 

Brilliant sunshine, great ribs, good cause

Thanks to everyone who came out to Ribfest Longeuil in Greenfield Park yesterday for an afternoon of sunshine, music and great food, all in service of raising money for the charity Tout pour les enfants.

It was great to see friends old and new, and our set included the first official public performance of a new song, The Comet. A Tod-Lucinda co-write, The Comet has been under construction since March 29, 1997, when Lucinda was inspired by the appearance of the Hale-Bopp comet in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. (At least the song was finished before the next appearance of the comet, Tod remarked onstage. Hale-Bopp is scheduled to return to our solar system in 4385.)

Thanks to the organizers for inviting us, particularly Mark Christiano, an old friend and fine musician who picked the lineup for this year's ribfest.

 

May 29, 2022 

Join us at RibFest in Greenfield Park June 5!

We're delighted to be joining the lineup at Ribfest Longeuil on June 5. 

The annual celebration of ribs, music and children takes place starting on Friday, June 3, and continues through the weekend. The Steel Rail set is Sunday, June 5, at 2 p.m. We'll be playing a 40-minute set and then join the festivities, which have as part of their goal raising money for the Fondation Tout pour les enfants.

Access to the site is free, and on the weekend there is a Youth Zone with children's activities and a classic cars exhibition, not to mention what are described as "ribs specialists" throughout the site. 

The event is at 195 Rue Empire in Greenfield Park.

You can read more about the event here. There is a $10 fee to enter the Youth Zone. 

Hope to see you at the festival! 

May 17, 2022 

R.I.P. Michael Wrycraft


Like so many musicians in Canada, we were saddened to learn of the death of Michael Wrycraft, a brilliant album cover designer and a passionate friend and music lover.

Michael designed the cover of the most recent Steel Rail album, Coming Home (shown here), as well as two Dave Clarke albums. He was a larger than life individual and someone who made a profound contribution to the roots music community in Canada.

You can read more about Michael's life in this Roots Music Canada article. He will be greatly missed. 

 

April 4, 2022 

Fun at Festival de la voix 

Thanks to everyone who joined us at the Festival de la voix in Hudson, Que., on April 3.

It was great to see so many people in beautiful St. Thomas Aquinas Church in our first concert in about 18 months. What a treat to be able to play some old favourites (Like a Ship) and new songs (Kate's Song) that feature the strong vocals and harmonies of Tod, Ellen and Dave.

We also enjoyed the spectacular singing and playing of the musicians with whom we shared the bill: Kerry-Anne Kutz on vocals with Mike Cartile on trumpet and Chad Linsley on piano.

Thanks to Kerry-Anne, who brought us to the festival, to Duke on sound,and, of course, to everyone who came to the show on a brisk -- our British friends might say "parky" -- spring day.

Here are Tod and Ellen getting ready for the show.

By the way, there is still some great music ahead at the festival. You can find details for the closing concert April 9 here.
 

April 1, 2022 

Interview on CBC Montreal Sunday

Thanks to CBC music columnist Duke Eatmon, who spent some time with Ellen and Dave today talking about Steel Rail's origins and musical journey.

The interview Duke recorded with them will be aired on Sunday, April 3, at 7:40 a.m. on the Quebec-wide morning show All in a Weekend.

The interview was planned to coincide with Steel Rail's appearance at the Festival de la Voix in Hudson, Quebec, on Sunday afternoon. For more information, or to buy tickets ($30 for adults, $25 for students and seniors) please click here.

March 5, 2022 

Festival de la Voix show in Hudson April 3

We're delighted to announce that we'll be performing as part of the Festival de la Voix in Hudson on April 3. 

The 3 p.m. concert is part of the ninth edition of the festival, which takes place in various locations around Montreal Island between March 19 and April 10. 

The festival was founded in 2012 by singer and voice teacher Kerry-Anne Kutz and her students Sonia Castiglione and Sheila Faour-Warren to celebrate exceptional professional singers and instrumentalists of various genres.

This year's version features performances by Choralissimo! (March 19), Oliver Forest and the Imani Gospel Singers (March 26) and Dark Divas (April 2), among others.

Steel Rail will be joined by Kerry-Anne, her musical partner Mike Cartile and pianist Chad Linsley in the April 3 show.

Tickets are $30; $25 for seniors and students. To buy tickets, please click  here.

January 14, 2022 

Steel Rail on Freewheeling Folk

What a nice way to start a new year. Venerable folk DJ Jim Marino is featuring Steel Rail and Dave Clarke on his Jan. 15 Freewheeling Folk Show at 93.3 CFMU in Hamilton, Ontario.

JIm will feature Steel Rail in the first half hour of the show, starting at 9:30 a.m. Then it's on to the music of Steel Rail guitarist Dave Clarke, with Dave live in conversation with Jim at 11 a.m.

You can find details of the January 15 show on the Freewheeling Folk Facebook page here. Thanks for the support, Jim, not only of Steel Rail and Dave, but hundreds of other folk artists over the past 28 years. 

 

 

October 18, 2021 

CFMA nomination for Dave! 

We're delighted to announce that Dave is one of five nominees in the solo instrumental category at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. 

Dave joins Olivier Demers, Maneli Jamal, Adam Young and Cédric Dind-Lavoie in the category Instrumental Solo Artist of the Year. Dave was nominated for his new album The Healing Garden. 

The CFMAs will be held on the weekend of April 1-3, 2022. 

You can read about all the amazing nominees here. 

Thanks to all the organizers and judges who make these great awards happen.

June 21, 2021  

Our new single is out!

We're pleased to report that we are releasing Kate's Song from our latest album as a single this week.

The song, written by Ellen, celebrates the resiliency of the human spirit -- something that seems fitting as we seem to be emerging from the pandemic in North America. 

Kate’s Song was written after Ellen saw Kate McGarrigle perform at the Royal Albert Hall shortly before her death. Then when she saw footage of people singing after a devastating earthquake, she was inspired to write about humankind’s ability to find comfort in music in the darkest times. 

The song quickly became a band favourite. And we're not the only ones.

Longtime friend -- and multiple Juno Award-winner -- David Francey calls the song a “gem.” “There’s such a hopeful melancholy woven into this melody, and such a compassionate grace inherent in the lyrics,” he said. 

The song features longtime McGarrigle collaborator Joel Zifkin in a soaring violin part. 

"I am grateful to have been able to play a part in Steel Rail’s lovely impressionistic ode to this human spirit," Joel told us. 

And renowned DJ Michael Regenstreif, the dean of Canadian folk journalists, wrote that Kate's Song is "about grief and, ultimately, the healing power of music. In the opening verse, we bear witness to the final song of the final performance of friend and beloved singer-songwriter Kate McGarrigle, just six weeks before she passed away from cancer at age 63. In the second verse, the song takes us to Haiti, where a devastating earthquake a few weeks after Kate’s last song took the lives of many thousands of people, and we hear about a survivor whose grief is comes out in the song he sings. In the final verse, the focus becomes universal as all of us find solace in song and 'sing till we can sing no more.'"

In case you missed it, you can hear Kate's Song here

Stay tuned for more good Steel Rail news soon.

Admission is free for this summer evening concert series along the lakeshore in beautiful Baie d'Urfé. Parking is available on Westchester, at the Whiteside Taylor Centre and at the Fritz Community Center via Carrière. Arrive early to reserve your spot and don’t forget to bring your chair! In case of rain, concerts are held at the Red Barn, 20 609 chemin Lakeshore.

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May8

Steel Rail

Happy new year, everyone

We're starting 2019 with a chilly flashback -- Tod walking down the centre of a secondary highway in west-central Quebec in what became the cover for our first release, A Thousand Miles of Snow.
A couple of things about the photo, taken by our talented friend Nancy Ackerman. 1. It truly was freezing that early March day near Rigaud. 2. You can faintly see some car headlights materializing over Tod's right shoulder. Several other vehicles, including an 18-wheeler, were dodged before Nancy finally got this shot.
Speaking of releases, we are happy to report that Steel Rail is finally in a studio working on some tracks for our next album. Like A Thousand Miles of Snow, it is being co-produced by our good friend Bill Garrett. We'll keep you posted re: progress as the winter progresses.
In the meantime, all the best for 2019.